This week's Answer:
out of Season
saw Better Watch Out, Bill, and I may know what you're talking
about in terms of the reason why you may not have completely liked it.
premise of an 12-year old being so infatuated with his babysitter that
he tries to scare her by setting up a phony house break-in and make
her fall in love with him when he comes to her rescue is clever, but
the story is never fully mined. The title and the setting is during
the Christmas holiday, but it has little to do with Christmas per se.
Yes, there are carolers and holiday music is played, but, if you look
closer, the story could happen at any time of the year, in any season,
and there's nothing in it that requires it to be set during Christmas
time (the title notwithstanding).
main problem with the script is that the dramatic curve doesn't rise
high enough and most of the action stays at one level. The main reason
for this is that, once the psychopath kid gets the babysitter under
his control, the story pretty much stays the same: we watch him reveal
more and more of his darkness, executing anybody in his way. But
that's it: there's nobody in his way. The babysitter has her
rebellious moments, but she never really gets a chance to fight back,
to take the story to a new level of tension and suspense. It never
worst choice the authors made was, when the babysitter gets away and
outside, the evil tween (good name for a horror movie: "Evil
Tween!") knocks her out with a brick, thereby bringing her
and the story back to where she was before: tied up in a chair. And
the guy friends who arrive to see her are lamebrains and offer no real
resistance to the kid who likes to swing bats and shoot guns (and hang
people and bash them with paint cans). The weakest set piece was him
out on the roof, trying to not be seen by his returning parents. And
the protagonist, instead of showing her cunning and skill and
fortitude to overcome this tween of evil (actually, that could be a
better title) who belongs in a rubber room or possibly in death's row
(take your pick), lives only because the killer kid (another good
title!) didn't cut deep enough and she somehow used duct tape to stop
the flow of blood. She did show him a good third finger from
the ambulance, but that's the extent of her resistance!?
an alternative storyline: It's established early in the script that
the babysitter has some special skill (sports, something her father
taught her, some ability she learned at some summer club or an uncle
taught her on his farm, etc.) and she uses that skill and other innate
abilities to not only stay alive but to also outwit and overcome the
hampster-killer tween. (Hampter Killer Tween! That's it!)
moral of this story: Just because you've babysat somebody many
times before, it still doesn't mean that he won't suddenly become a
psychopath and start killing everybody in sight.
keep tying you to a chair.